Update: Vineyard cougar attack could be second one of the month in the area

House cat also reportedly killed by a cougar this month

Workers at 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery, north of Courtenay, made a grim discovery Monday.

A dead sheep; victim of an apparent cougar attack.

40 Knots tasting room manager, Alana Johnson, said they haven’t seen the cougar since the attack, but the B.C. Conservation Officer Service has been paying close attention to the matter.

“We have called in a conservation officer and they have been taking care of everything since,” said Johnson. “They came out and set up a trail cam to see if they can find it, and they (officers) have been back and forth every day.”

Conservation officer Steve Petrovcic, who attended the scene, said due to circumstances, he is unable to categorically classify the incident as a cougar attack, but all the evidence he could collect is consistent with a cougar’s hunt method.

“The carcass was buried right away by the property owners, who were concerned with the carcass possibly attracting other scavengers or maybe a bear,” said Petrovcic. “Different predators will have their own unique attack characteristics and based on the attack characteristics of what was described, the trauma was focussed directly on the neck [which is how cougars attack].

Unfortunately, the ground was extremely hard, so I was not able to identify any definitive tracks.”

Neighbouring property owners had also advised owners of 40 Knots that they had lost a house cat to a cougar just a few days earlier.

“That was not reported to the COS call centre, but the staff person that shared that with me… there’d be no other reason to share that.”

Petrovcic has been on the site every day since the attack, checking the cameras he set up, but there has been no evidence of the cougar returning to the kill sight.

Petrovcic said there have been “maybe six or eight” reports to the call centre regarding cougar sightings and/or encounters in the Comox Valley this year, and only one instance where officers had to euthanize cougars.

In March three cougars were put down after a conflict on a hobby farm between Courtenay and Cumberland.

RELATED: Three cougars killed near Courtenay farm

“We do a constant risk assessment,” said Petrovcic. “The ultimate goal [is to] keep both people and wildlife safe.”

Petrovcic reminded residents that the Vancouver Island is “cougar country.”

“Probably 95 to 98 per cent of a cougar’s diet is comprised of black-tailed deer, so I always remind folks that where you see a black-tailed deer,a t some point you could potentially see a cougar.”

As for the winery, Johnson said the appropriate action has been taken to ensure another such incident does not happen.

“We moved [the other sheep] off the property that day,” she said. “We still have geese and chickens, but they get penned up every single night.”

“That was a great option that they had,” said Petrovcic.

Just Posted

Shelter Point reaps rewards for artisanal whisky distilled from local grain

Oyster River-based company takes home crop of medals at Canadian Whisky Awards

Storm part ways with head coach Cam Basarab

Former associate Mike Wilson takes over behind the Campbell River bench

Cortes residents battle mussel operation over noise

Questions for hearing include whether activities are considered processing

Haig-Brown Writer-in-Residence Songwriters’ Circle Series a chance to explore the craft in a safe place

Terry Jordan giving Campbell River-area songwriters a place to celebrate and share their songs

Pioneering Telegraph Cove whale watching company cast adrift after 38 years

Stubbs Island Whale Watching announced it is ceasing operation

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

Teravainen’s 3 points lift Hurricanes to 5-2 win over Canucks

Vancouver heads into all-star break on losing note

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

LETTER: Seniors home care, day programs expanding, Adrian Dix says

B.C. health minister responds to latest Seniors Advocate report

Most Read